Instant Analysis: The Pekka Rinne Deal

Thursday, 11.3.2011 / 11:36 AM CT / Features
Nashville Predators
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Instant Analysis: The Pekka Rinne Deal
Rinne Signs 7-Year Contract With Preds
Rinne Highlight Reel
Rinne's NYC Media Tour
Rinne Sets Team Single Season Shutout Record
Flashback: March 2008-Rinne's Call Up
Pekka Rinne is not only re-signed, but signed to a contract that will keep him with the Preds for the remainder of his career. Rinne, who just turned 29 today (click here to post your Birthday wishes for Rinne), has emerged as one of the elite goaltenders in the game. He was a finalist for the Vezina Trophy last season along with Tim Thomas (37 years old) and Roberto Luongo (32 years old).

In fact, looking back at the last 14 Vezina Trophy winners, only one has been younger than 29 --- Jose Theodore was 25 when he won the award in 2001-02) --- and six have been 34 or older. Goaltending in today’s NHL has become about experience. Rinne has it and can make a very strong claim as the top goaltender under 30 right now.

The emergence of Rinne is also a credit to the Predators organization, who drafted Rinne in the eighth round of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft before patiently moving him throughout the system. As a team that has had some goaltender turnover in the past, the re-signing of Rinne solidifies a crucial spot on the ice and sets a foundation for the Preds for years to come.

Rinne notched his 100th NHL win against Anaheim on Saturday, and also set a franchise record by recording his 22nd shutout. Impressive numbers considering he just began his fourth full season in Nashville. In the three seasons prior to 2011-12, he had 20 shutouts, which was tied for the best mark in the NHL.

The Preds reached the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first in franchise history last season, and Rinne was a major reason why. He was already known as one of the NHL’s top goaltenders, but his spectacular playoffs performances on such a major stage made him a household name throughout the hockey world.

Opposing players and national media outlets continually bestow compliments and awards to the 6-foot-5, 209-pound Finland native. In the 2011-12 edition of The Hockey News’ Best of Everything in Hockey, Rinne was ranked No. 1 for ‘Best Glove Hand’ and No. 3 for ‘Best Goaltender.’

Rinne never appeared distracted as contract talks were taking place, and it certainly did not affect his play. Still, with the negotiations behind him, it’s one less thing for him to worry about. And it should be noted that Rinne is an outstanding locker room presence, respected by his peers as not only an outstanding player but also as a person and teammates. Rinne is never one to point fingers and he has a team approach that is genuine.

--Bryan Mullen/Jay Levin, NashvillePredators.com

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STANDINGS
 

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 51 24 7 228 221 109
2 y - STL 82 51 24 7 239 197 109
3 x - NSH 82 47 25 10 226 202 104
4 x - CHI 82 48 28 6 220 186 102
5 x - VAN 82 48 29 5 236 220 101
6 x - MIN 82 46 28 8 227 198 100
7 x - WPG 82 43 26 13 223 204 99
8 x - CGY 82 45 30 7 237 213 97
9 LAK 82 40 27 15 218 197 95
10 DAL 82 41 31 10 257 257 92
11 COL 82 39 31 12 209 223 90
12 SJS 82 40 33 9 224 226 89
13 EDM 82 24 44 14 193 276 62
14 ARI 82 24 50 8 165 267 56

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
F. Forsberg 82 26 37 15 63
M. Ribeiro 82 15 47 11 62
R. Josi 81 15 40 15 55
S. Weber 78 15 30 15 45
C. Smith 82 23 21 11 44
C. Wilson 77 20 22 19 42
M. Fisher 59 19 20 4 39
J. Neal 67 23 14 12 37
R. Ellis 58 9 18 8 27
S. Jones 82 8 19 3 27
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 41 17 6 .923 2.18
C. Hutton 6 7 4 .902 2.61